Best NHL Hockey Logos and What You Can Learn From Them

Posted on April 24, 2024 | Updated on April 24, 2024

Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, you can appreciate the logos from a design standpoint. NHL logos are unique and show designers how to create meaningful emblems for clients. 

The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded in 1917 in Montreal, Canada. At first, there were four teams, all based in Canada. Later, a fifth team came into the mix. They played their first games in December of that year. By the 1920s, the NHL opened their membership to U.S. teams, adding the Boston Bruins in 1925. The Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers joined a year later. 

Over the past century plus, various team logos have come and gone, names changed and tweaks happened. Today’s logos are a bit different from the originals to reflect changing times and digital marketing efforts. 

Sports logos have a lot to teach about layout and functionality. Improve your logo designs by studying NFL logos as well as NHL logos. 

Designerly spent time looking at current NHL logos and narrowing down the options to the best of the best. Here are our choices and what you can learn from each:

The Best NHL Logos

One thing about NHL logos is that they are quite varied. Some utilize the team mascot, others the letter of the city where the team is based and some use words with emblems. The variety of logos shows just how creative you can get with logo design. Each logo has a special meaning and history behind it.

Boston Bruins

nhl logos

The Boston Bruins was the first U.S. team to join the NHL. The vivid yellow and black reflects the team colors. It also provides high contrast to make the outlined letter B stand out. The spokes on the black and gold wheel are also black to set them off. Boston’s nickname is “The Hub,” so the appearance of a network surrounding the B highlights the city where the team resides. The latest logo was redesigned in 2007. 

The original logo on the uniforms was a B with brown spokes. Over the years, designers changed to black. 

Toronto Maple Leafs

nhl logos

The Toronto Maple Leafs keep their logo simple and to the point. Since Canada is known for maple leafs, the emblem makes sense for a Canadian hockey team. The deep blue contrasts nicely with the word mark inside the outline of the leaf.

Note that the font is a simple sans serif with a heavy, evenly distributed weight to the letters. The logo is easy to read from a distance or at a game. The team wore white sweaters and a green maple leaf initially, but quickly changed their team colors to white and blue. Founder and coach Conn Smythe stated the blue stood for Canada’s beautiful bright skies and the white for snow. 

Designers should note the simplicity of the design and why it stands the test of time. The emblem is one most people recognize as Canadian. The colors have a subtle psychological impact. 

Anaheim Ducks

nhl logos

Moving to the Pacific coast, the Anaheim Ducks have quite an interesting logo that works perfectly for a hockey team. A modern version of the letter D, the logo almost appears to be in motion. The curve of the letter is elongated, making more of an oval shape as though the letter is preparing to fly down the hockey rink toward victory.

The white and orange accents follow the curves, adding a three-dimensional look. The entire logo gets a light gray outline to make it pop against any background. 

Winnipeg Jets

nhl logos

The Winnipeg Jets’ logo uses a unique layering effect to give the hint of the red Canadian maple leaf with a modern interpretation of a jet airplane. The logo has almost a military look to it with the gray, navy blue and red color scheme. 

The Jets were originally accepted into the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1971. However, the WHA was eventually combined with the NHL and became part of the franchise. The Jets are a team that moved from one area to another through a purchase, considered various names and settled on the Jets. The Thrashers name and logo were kept by the original owners in Atlanta. 

The name, logo and marketing details are all fairly new when compared to teams refining their look over a century. However, it is unique and modern looking, making it stand out from the other logos in the NHL. 

St. Louis Blues

nhl logos

The St. Louis Blues may be a team people don’t follow as closely as the Bruins or the Jets, but their logo is worth mentioning. This solid midwestern hockey team stands out for their style and color combination. 

Formed in 1967, the Blues are part of the NHL expansion. They are named after a song by W.C. Handy titled “Saint Louis Blues.” At first, their color palette featured a lighter blue. In 1984, they darkened the blue. As they tried different team uniform designs, they added and removed things before settling on the current simple musical note design. 

The logo often appears as just the note, but sometimes includes words. The simplicity of the design ties perfectly to the team name and image, giving a nod to their heritage. 

More NHL Logos

The five logos above are just a handful of some of the interesting designs put out by teams in the NHL. Pay attention to the history of each logo as you enjoy the next season. Why do designers choose the colors, images and accents they do? By studying logos, you’ll come up with ideas for your designs that stand out from any other professional artist.

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